News spread Monday of a remarkable breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Microsoft and Chinese retailer Alibaba independently announced that they had made software that matched or outperformed humans on a reading-comprehension test devised at Stanford. Microsoft called it a “major milestone.” Media coverage amplified the claims, with Newsweek estimating “millions of jobs at risk.”
Those jobs seem safe for a while. Closer examination of the tech giants’ claims suggests their software hasn’t yet drawn level with humans, even within the narrow confines of the test used. READ MORE: AI Beat Humans at Reading! Maybe Not | WIRED
Michael Cook, a 30-year-old senior research fellow at the University of Falmouth, has built an AI capable of imagining new video games from scratch. Cook calls the machine Angelina, a recursive acronym that stands for “A Novel Game-Evolving Labrat I’ve Named Angelina” (a joke that Cook says got old pretty quickly). Since its earliest form, in 2011, it has created hundreds of experimental video games, received acclaim in an international game-making competition, and had its work featured in a New York gallery exhibit. READ MORE: AI Is Dreaming Up New Kinds of Video Games | MIT Tech Review
Disney researchers have been coming up with some striking new technology lately, including a method for real-time speech animation, shared augmented reality and some creepy face-projection tech for live performances. Now, researchers at Disney and the University of Massachusetts Boston have been working on neural networks that can evaluate short stories.
Fears that computers were taking over swept the world this week when stories emerged about Facebook’s AI creating its own language that researchers couldn’t understand. But they might be a little misplaced.
Engel and Resnick are part of Google Magenta—a small team of AI researchers inside the internet giant building computer systems that can make their own art—and this is their latest project. It’s called NSynth, and the team will publicly demonstrate the technology later this week at Moogfest, the annual art, music, and technology festival, held this year in Durham, North Carolina.
When the writer Rebecca Forster first heard how Google was using her work, it felt like she was trapped in a science fiction novel. “Is this any different than someone using one of my books to start a fire? I have no idea,” she says. “I have no idea what their objective is. Certainly it is not to bring me readers.”
After a 25-year writing career, during which she has published 29 novels ranging from contemporary romance to police procedurals, the first instalment of her Josie Bates series, Hostile Witness, has found a new reader: Google’s artificial intelligence.
“My imagination just didn’t go as far as it being used for something like this,” Forster says. “Perhaps that’s my failure.” Forster’s thriller is just one of 11,000 novels that researchers including Oriol Vinyals and Andrew M Dai at Google Brain have been using to improve the technology giant’s conversational style. After feeding these books into a neural network, the system was able to generate fluent, natural-sounding sentences. READ MORE: Google swallows 11,000 novels to improve AI’s conversation | Books | The Guardian
IBM Watson can add yet another skill to its resume: the ability to make movie trailers. 20th Century Fox has tapped into the supercomputer’s powers to create the first AI-made trailer for its upcoming thriller film Morgan. It’s a fitting start for Watson’s trailer-making career. Morgan is, after all, a sci-fi flick about a group of scientists who created a humanoid machine that rapidly gained capabilities and went out of control. READ MORE: Watson helped make a trailer for a horror movie about AI | engadget
Artists beware! AI is coming for your paintbrush too… A new iOS app, called Prisma, is using deep learning algorithms to turn smartphone photos into stylized artworks based on different artwork/graphical styles.
Earlier this month Google’s software engineer Andrew Dai explained to BuzzFeed News that the genre’s formulaic approach to storytelling makes it ideal for machine learning. They hit a sweet spot between the labyrinthine, meandering sentences found in literary fiction, and the less elevated language used in kids’ books.